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Prominent fashion designer and social entrepreneur places her wellness retreat up for sale

Tags: Commercial

The land and buildings involved with a health and wellness retreat established by one of New Zealand’s most well-known fashion designers and, in more recent years, successful social entrepreneur, has been placed on the market for sale.

The property – formerly known as Te Atawhai – is located at 195 Te Kawana Road on the outskirts of Te Aroha township in the Waikato, and was run by successful fashion label entrepreneur Annah Stretton.

Consisting of five bedrooms, each with their own individual ensuite, the lodge premises sits amidst landscaped gardens and a substantial pond. When trading as a commercial accommodation venue, Te Atawhai commanded rates of up to $2,200 for four-night health and wellness package encompassing yoga, massage, meditation and fitness sessions.

Guest amenities within the property’s grounds include an in-ground salt water swimming pool, and grass tennis court. The main dwelling is accessed by a long driveway set well back from Te Kawana Road.

Now the 365-square metre lodge sitting on some 10,000 square metres of freehold land zoned rural 1A is on the market for sale at auction at 11am on March 7 through Bayleys Hamilton. Salesperson Josh Smith said the lodge was being sold as land and buildings only – with the Te Atawhai wellness retreat no longer trading.

However, all the furniture, fittings, Manchester, whiteware, and guest-room amenities which sustained the Te Atawhai entity are all included in the offering. The two-storey lodge has open-plan communal living, cooking and dining areas – as well as an office - on the ground level, with guest bedrooms on the upper floor coming off a central corridor.

“With the physical infrastructure already in place, it would be relatively straightforward for any new owner of the property to establish a new lodge or commercially-run B ‘n’ B style accommodation business at the address,” Mr Smith said.

“Te Atawhai had a niche clientele target-market with its extended-stay health and wellness programmes. Realigning the accommodation offering to the wider one and two-night stay general tourism market at a mid-price point around the $200 per room per night mark would most likely result in a substantially higher occupancy rate.

“Thinking even bigger, with a vast flat lawn space immediately in front of the lodge’s portico entry capable of sustaining a sizeable marquee, commercial activity could be scaled up for the property to operate as a wedding reception venue. Should the venue morph’ into a luxury lodge, the lawn could also sustain a helicopter landing pad.

“There are also ample building platforms in close proximity to the homestead which would sustain additional new accommodation amenities to increase guest capacity.”

Immediately adjacent to the lawn is a large landscaped pond overlooked by a paved fountain setting and multiple mature trees.

Under Te Atawhai’s operations, the residence’s 45 square metre garage was converted into a carpeted yoga studio – featuring an air conditioning unit, and a floor-to-ceiling mirror.

“This space could continue as a wellness-focused amenity, or it could be reformatted into a meeting or function room, or subject to council consent, it could potentially be converted into an additional bedroom,” Mr Smith said.

Te Aroha’s reputation as a location pandering to wellness dates back to the 1880s when geothermal hot springs were established in the town domain. The town’s mineral pools quickly became a tourist magnet – drawing in tens of thousands of holiday-makers from across the Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions before the township’s spa drawcard was eventually surpassed by the bigger and more spectacular geothermal attractions of Rotorua.

However, domestic tourism in and around Te Aroha township has undergone a resurgence over the past six-years with the opening of the Hauraki Rail Trail. Te Aroha sits at the axis of two legs within the cycling network - the Paeroa to Te Aroha section, and the Te Aroha to Matamata spur. The Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the busiest parts of New Zealand’s national cycle network.

Mr Smith said that with Te Atawhai only operating for two years, the dwelling’s interior decore was relatively modern and well maintained, with furnishings in neutral colours and styles.

“Any new owner looking to purchase the property with a view to re-opening it as a commercial accommodation entity could simply walk into this ‘turn-key’ opportunity and begin taking on guests. Or, with minimal refurbishment, they could redecorate the interior to any new tastes or design preferences,” he said.

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